A product liability lawsuit has been filed against Bristol-Myers Squibb and Sanofi Aventis, alleging that the manufacturers of the popular blood thinner Plavix lied about the drug’s safety and effectiveness.
The Plavix complaint was filed earlier this month in St. Clair County Circuit Court in Illinois, on behalf of 72 people from across the country.
According to allegations raised in the complaint, Plavix side effects caused the plaintiffs to suffer injuries, economic losses and medical costs because the companies provided inadequate warnings and falsely claimed that the popular blood thinner was more effective, and safer, than aspirin.
Plavix (clopidogrel) is a blood thinner that prevents blood platelets from sticking together to form clots. It is a blockbuster medication, generating annual sales of $3.8 billion for the drug manufacturers.
The complaint joins a growing number of similar Plavix lawsuits filed against the manufacturers, in which plaintiffs allege that they suffered injuries as a result of their unnecessary use of Plavix, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, severe ulcers, heart attacks, strokes and a rare blood disorder known as TTP, or thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpora.
Plaintiffs claim that the drug makers repeatedly overstated the safety and effectiveness of Plavix, and point out that the companies were repeatedly cited by the FDA for illegal, off-label promotions and for ads and campaigns that touted its benefits over aspirin and how safe it was for the stomach; both claims that the FDA said were unproven.
Most of the cases over side effects of Plavix have been filed at the state court level in New Jersey, where dozens of Plavix suits have been centralized before one judge for coordination during pretrial proceedings. However, last month, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation declined to centralize the federal Plavix litigation as part of an MDL, pointong out that there are currently only 12 Plavix complaints pending in the federal court system, with 10 of them filed in 2006 or 2007.
This latest complaint filed in Illinois state court accuses Bristol-Myers Squib and Sanofi of strict liability, manufacturing a defective product, negligence and failure to warn. The plaintiffs say they suffered pain and suffering, impairment, disfigurement, medical costs, and loss of enjoyment of life. They are seeking compensatory damages and legal costs.